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Social distancing imposes tremendous costs on all of us. Colleges shut down, students stay home, employers go bankrupt, salaries dry up, economies free fall and governments lose trillions. Still, the coronavirus continues to spread faster than authorities can keep up with.
When a technology entrepreneur presents a high-profile plan to the House Financial Services Committee to provide low-cost access to financial markets and payments services to billions of people without bank accounts, most people would applaud him as a 21st-century hero. But Mark Zuckerberg is no ordinary tech entrepreneur — he has earned a bad reputation as the monopolist who oversaw egregious violations of user privacy.
Members of the Class of 2023 fresh out of First-Year Trips gave Divest Dartmouth a lot of attention during last week’s activity fair. Divest Dartmouth is a well-known brand at Dartmouth — they have almost 1,500 followers on Facebook and their stickers give MacBooks and Nalgenes around campus more personality. Divest Dartmouth also has a mission: “That Dartmouth College ceases to invest in coal, tar sands and the Climate Action List of the most harmful oil and gas companies identified by the Fossil Free Index and Union of Concerned Scientists.”
What if it were possible to get better job opportunities by doing less recruiting? That would be a godsend for many of my friends who are spending their sophomore summers trying to game the corporate recruiting process into offering them jobs in which they have no interest. Many of my friends feel intensely pressured to get jobs in consulting, private equity or investment banking. Some are in it for the money and others to appease an over-zealous parent. Some are drawn by the promise of status-security and others are running from the prospect of unemployment. But very few have a genuine interest in these professions. This thoughtless pursuit of high-status jobs is a problem that has fueled the “snake” stigma against consulting, finance and even the economics major.
There’s a lot to learn at the intersection of academic subjects. Different fields offer different worldviews, and understanding how they overlap gives us a better understanding of issues. As a liberal arts college, Dartmouth should celebrate the overlap between disciplines and encourage students to seek out an interdisciplinary education.
What could be beautiful about a bad day?
The 2020 presidential election is rapidly approaching. President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign war chest grows to over $100 million; meanwhile, more and more Democrats are announcing their campaigns to replace him. America is not ready for another round of the polarizing, tribalistic turf war that increasingly defines this country’s presidential politics. Tensions still run deep from the toxic 2016 elections, and little suggests that the entrenched party elite on either side of the aisle will jostle for power in 2020 with any more civility than last time.
Congratulations! You made it another year, another leap through time and space around the sun into a momentous 2019. As we approach this new year of life and experience, some of us take a moment to make resolutions that — hopefully — will stand the test of time. These resolutions reflect us with a rare authenticity — they are our highest hopes, our deepest insecurities and our most honest appraisals of our own selves.
When Eric Libre ’85 arrived for his first year at Dartmouth in 1981, he found a school that was outdoorsy, down-to-earth, health-focused and thoroughly Greek. He absorbed all he could in his 150-student pre-medicine lecture classes while the biology and chemistry majors around him furiously scribbled their notes. But Eric Libre wanted more from his Dartmouth experience than what a one-dimensional focus on STEM could offer him. He pursued his passions in the humanities, socratically engaging with the origins of modern culture through history and Italian. He worked hard, using his D-Plan to secure off-campus work and research opportunities at the National Institute of Health and at local hospitals. When it came time to pick a major on his premed track, Eric Libre excitedly told the biology department head of his plans to combine STEM and the humanities through a new bioethics major — the professor told him he “wasn’t sure that fits” under premed. Under pressure but unwilling to give up on a liberal arts education, Eric Libre majored in history modified with Italian before heading to a top medical school in 1985.
As Dartmouth’s identity stands at the crossroads between liberal arts college and research university, College President Phil Hanlon’s Call to Lead campaign launches many ambitious initiatives that promise to improve Dartmouth’s mixed model. The campaign’s cornerstone proposal to turn the West End of campus into a hub for engineering, computer science, business and design radically rethinks this mixed model and pushes Dartmouth into uncharted territory. While integrating these connected fields into one community could foster interdisciplinary thinking and a liberal arts approach to business-oriented pursuits, the proposal could also geographically, culturally and academically divorce the traditional humanities and social sciences from their modern counterparts. There are tremendous potential academic and social benefits associated with this new vision for the West End, but if Dartmouth fails to prevent its new ecosystem from becoming an inward-looking bubble, the College will face an identity crisis and watch its mixed model collapse into division.
Climate change is not a regional or partisan problem: it is a human and economic one. Climate change threatens to damage the environment of everyone on the planet. Not only is climate change the product of 150 years of worldwide carbon-fueled industrialism, but it will also wreak havoc on the globalized economy of tomorrow — it would be difficult to maintain global supply chains and international financial markets if coastal industrial centers faced hurricane after hurricane and the New York Stock Exchange were underwater.
Homeownership is an essential pillar of the American Dream. Epitomizing security, stability and success, the American home is a safe haven and anchor for many in a volatile world. It certainly was for Dr. Eloisa Tamez, a Lipan Apache who treasured her 250-year-old ancestral home near the Texas-Mexican border. In 2008, the Department of Homeland Security decided that the land was in the way of border wall construction and initiated a messy seven-year legal process against Tamez to expropriate her ancestral land. She fought in the courts, but alas, Homeland Security successfully nationalized her property in 2013. In 2011, Texas farm manager Julia Crawford suffered the same ordeal at the hands of TransCanada, Inc. After she rejected several offers from the oil company, as her family had done for generations, the multi-national corporation took her to court. She crowdfunded her legal defense fund, raising thousands of dollars in a wave of popular support. Regardless, the courts seized the ranch and handed it to TransCanada in service of their Keystone XL Pipeline. This is not justice — this is theft. This ruinous practice of legalized theft is as invasive as it is on the rise. This is eminent domain.
America is a nation built by powerful ideas. In the 18th century, the Framers wove the democratic, individualistic ideals of the Enlightenment into the moral and constitutional fabric of the nation. In the 19th century, laissez-faire liberalism allowed free men and free markets to unleash an unprecedented wave of innovation and growth while uniting the country through commerce. In the 20th century, the revolution spearheaded by then-president Franklin D. Roosevelt brought the struggling masses back into civil society by establishing an expansive, ambitious welfare state and restoring America’s commitment to egalitarianism. In the 21st century, our nation must wrestle with the ramifications of these past revolutions and use new ideas to actualize our timeless values of liberty, equality and prosperity.
Politicians like to cast immigration as a partisan issue with stark alternatives and difficult trade-offs: open vs. closed, natives vs. outsiders, safety vs. liberty, efficiency vs. equality. But what if it was possible to give America the best of both worlds? The United States has a powerful set of core values that can lead this country to greatness if we have the courage and the ingenuity to apply them to the challenges of our day. With bipartisan immigration reform on the horizon, America has the rare opportunity to strengthen its economy and its democracy while answering the plea of the American worker.
Second in undergraduate teaching, ninth in campus beauty, 11th in postgraduate income potential and unparalleled in sense of community, Dartmouth College looks about as close as it gets to an ideal school — and about as far as it gets from the Arizona public schools I attended. In the land that touts Arizona Ice Tea, Barry Goldwater and a smashing 48th place ranking for public school funding per elementary and secondary school student, “education” meant endless regimens of busywork and chaotic history classes taught by an academically unqualified volleyball coach. It did not take me long before I realized that I would not get an education in the same place I got my schooling. More determined than dejected, I looked to the YouTube channel CrashCourse, the education company Coursera, the local library, my friends, aimless Wikipedia chains and games like Age of Empires instead. In the meantime, I dreamed of getting into a school like Dartmouth where I could finally get the education that the Arizona public school system did not provide.
When Greece joined the European community in 1981, the nascent democracy’s prospects looked promising: it was stabilizing after a seven-year military junta and had a debt-to-GDP ratio of 28 percent with low deficits. In the same year, Greece elected the free-spending, populist Panhellenic Socialist Movement to power; they used this mandate to establish a system of lavish state welfare programs. Debt soared as productivity declined and taxes went unpaid — by 2007, debt reached 103.1 percent of GDP. When the 2008 financial crisis came, Greece collapsed into crippling recession and almost brought the global economy down with it. Even after implementing austerity measures, Greek debt today is 179 percent of GDP and GDP is just 55 percent of what it was in 2008.
Homecoming was meant to be a night of unity and tradition. The whole college and many alumni came together to celebrate our community and one of our most cherished traditions: the Homecoming bonfire. The energy in that ring as we ran our 21 laps grew stronger than the waves of heat from the roaring tower of flame. As enthusiasm grew, the call of tradition won over a few brave students: They were going to touch the fire. Laws, walls and officers could not shatter their resolve to keep tradition alive. They leaped over the barriers, dashed toward the fence — and got arrested. Chants of “let him go” filled the Green as students protested. The students caught could face criminal charges or four-figure fines. If any are international students, they may face deportation.
We live in a time of tremendous social change. America enjoys more pluralism, civil rights and social equality than at any other point in its 241-year history. In the social media-dominated election of 2016, millennials surpassed baby boomers as the largest generational voting bloc. American democracy is more open, young and diverse than ever before. However, this country systematically denies the birthright of voting along a stark line of social, moral, political and economic inequality. This condemnation of young Americans to second-class citizenship delegitimizes our democracy, hinders long-term policymaking and violates human rights. We must recognize the inalienable voting rights of our minors.